I am writing seeking clarification. I can’t help but notice that you seem to be a little confused about your appraisal of the performance of Prime Minister Tony Abbott.
I’m wondering if you perhaps want to rethink your description of Abbott, the Prime Minister, in the book you have been trying to flog – Remarkable Times – Australian Politics 2010-13: What really happened. I won’t pretend to have read this book. In fact, I found it near impossible to read even an extract, so predictable and so utterly boring and so obviously not about ‘what really happened’. You see, Laurie, between 2010-13, what really happened bore so little resemblance to what you and your fellow political journalist hacks reported as happening, you are the last person I would go to for insights about Australian politics in Australia across any period, let alone the previous three years.
But, without having read it, I think I’m safe to assume your book has a similar theme to all your political reporting between 2010-13, summed up concisely in this extract. Describing Abbott’s first 11 days as Prime Minister, you say his behaviour over these 11 days is evidence of his new approach to government as being “careful and methodical”, where Abbott would “behave in a way that was ‘clear, consistent and coherent’”.
In contrast, you explain the difference between Abbott’s government and the previous Labor government using these words:
“But as far as the public and the media were concerned, it was 11 days of unaccustomed quiet after the Labor years of crisis, chaos and constant politicking. No-one complained. The nation was over politics and welcomes a respite”.
When you say ‘clear, consistent and coherent’, what I hear, as an informed voter, is a political hack using Peta Credlin’s press release to explain, without scrutiny, what Peta Credlin wants Australians to think an Abbott government is going to be like. When you say ‘crisis, chaos and constant politicking’, what I hear, as an informed voter, is a political hack using Peta Credlin’s press release to describe, without fact, the approach of the Labor government. When you say ‘no-one complained’, you’re not talking for me, you’re saying Peta Credlin was without complaint. When you say ‘the nation was over politics and welcomes a respite’, you are again speaking for Peta Credlin and saying what Peta Credlin hoped the nation felt, when in actual fact the only politics the intelligent part of this nation was ‘over’ was your false brand of horserace, completely lacking in policy detail, substance and fact. And this is what I mean when I say you are predictable, you are unreliable, you are presumptuous in speaking for people you know nothing about, and most importantly, you are wrong.
But here’s where I think you’ve suddenly come unstuck. The real performance of the Abbott government, only weeks into the job, has proven how wrong you have been. Because reality doesn’t lie.
Perhaps you thought all your Christmases had come at once, when you got the Abbott government you had wished for, and campaigned for all those years. But like a child who is promised a brighter future, and instead ends up with a sack of coal, the Abbott government has actually turned out to be just as incompetent, just as immature, just as dangerous and just as down-right unintelligent as people like me warned people like you it was going to be between 2010-13 and before. So you have found out the hard way ‘what really happened’. But your book is out now, and it’s too late to correct your inaccurate record.
Apparently you seem to be coming to terms with this grave error, with the news this week that you’re unhappy with the Abbott government’s secretive modus operandi. Whereas in your book you say, in an appreciative tone:
“Here was a Prime Minister-elect obviously serious about not feeding the hungry media beast”,
and by beast, I assume you mean people like you who love words like ‘chaos’, ‘crisis’, ‘scandal’ and of course ‘JuLiar’. Yet, only a few weeks later, you somewhat ironically backflip on this appreciation, having been quoted as saying:
“You (Abbott) can’t thumb your nose at the voters’ right to know and you can’t arrogantly say ‘we’ll let the voters be misinformed and we won’t help journalists get it right’. That’s just a disgusting attitude.”
I happen to agree with you, Laurie, that keeping voters uninformed is a pretty disgusting and arrogant attitude. And to this, I will say two things – pot kettle black, and, what the fuck did you expect?
You have kept voters uninformed by completely failing to scrutinise what Abbott was going to do as Prime Minister. You perpetuated the utterly ridiculous notion that Abbott could move from nasty, messy, attack-dog to mature, competent Prime Minister. I’m sorry Laurie, but this concept is idiotic. An incompetent, lazy, rude, mean, un-charismatic, unreliable, unintelligent, misogynistic, unscrupulous, inarticulate thug is always going to be all of these things, whether he lives in the Lodge with his apparently attractive daughters or not. He wasn’t just all of these things when he was Opposition Leader because it suited his agenda at the time. It’s not a coat he can just take off. This is it. This is Tony Abbott. With Peta Credlin barking instructions into his earpiece. This is Tony Abbott.
Have you ever considered why Abbott’s office has disappeared into the cone of silence? Have you considered it’s because they’re completely over their heads and don’t actually have any idea what to say about their revolting plans for this country? This is not some grand master plan. This is a grand retreat into nothingness. This is incompetence personified.
You and some of your colleagues don’t like that Abbott’s not telling you stuff. No doubt this has nothing to do with concern for the Australian community and how informed they are, and rather more to do with your difficulty in finding something to talk about, having relied on press releases from Peta Credlin, complete with Abbott’s talking points, and leaks from Rudd for all those years. But guess what Laurie, this is the least of the problems we, the informed public, have with Tony Abbott. I’m less concerned with what he’s not saying, and more concerned, if concerned is a strong enough a word, with what he is doing. Handing responsibility for massively important decisions about government spending to a business lobbyist. Cutting funding to scientific research. Embarrassing Australia on the global stage. Slashing and burning public sector jobs. Ripping up future-proofing infrastructure by destroying the NBN. Raising the debt ceiling to all time highs with no explanation as to why just weeks after claiming a ‘budget emergency’. Cancelling the Carbon Price for an expensive joke of a Direct Action Policy which is beyond humiliating for the country, right at the same time when the public are finally starting to realise that electricity bills are not more important than the safety of the planet. Lying about deals he’s made with Indonesia to turn back boats and pretending the very act of him becoming Prime Minister has stopped the boats. Not to mention the real ‘chaos’ and ‘crisis’ which Abbott refuses to address – his and his minister’s fraudulent use of taxpayer funds for expensive travel and accommodation for their own egos and personal entertainment. And you thought Julia Gillard’s dodgy ex-boyfriend from 20 years ago constituted a ‘scandal’ because some nut-job internet troll said so? You still said she had ‘questions to answer’ even after she answered every snide and absurd question you are your malicious colleagues in the National Press Club could conjure up? Seriously Laurie, you have no right to tell anyone ‘what really happened’. You’ve been negligent to the extreme in informing the public what to expect from an Abbott government. Now you’re worried that Abbott’s secretive non-consultative strategy is keeping voters misinformed? I really hope you don’t live in a glass house with a ready collection of stones.
Moving on to ‘what the fuck did you expect’. You seem quite surprised now that Abbott isn’t turning out the way you anticipated. So I say again, what the fuck did you expect? Did you fall for the ‘they are just the same’ tactic, used to refute people like me who said, for years, that Abbott was going to be a disaster again and again and again no matter whether people wanted to hear it or not? Whenever I think of Abbott, and what a setback he is for Australia, I can’t help but hear the words of Paul Keating from this interview in 2010 where he said:
“If Tony Abbott ends up as Prime Minister of Australia, you’ve got to say, God help us, God help us. A truly intellectual nobody. And no policy ambition. You know, I mean, is that all there is?”
As I knew, and as you are quickly learning, Abbott is all there is. And thanks to the lack of scrutiny of him by people like you before the election, Australia is stuck with him. For one term at least. And now you’re saying you’re not happy with Abbott’s performance? Spare a thought for people like me, who saw it coming and are now justified to say over and over again – ‘I told you so’.
you really have to get with the program, Labor lost the last election because they were an incompetent rabble, full of grand promises that were either totally misguided or, if well intentioned, absolutely undeliverable . Add to that the disarray of their leadership squabbles and it should surprise no one that the voters threw them out with great gusto in September.
No, Iain Hall, this is what our incompetent and/or compromised Canberra Press Gallery told us was what happened. Look up Andrew Elder’s last blog to get an account of a typical distortion of a serious and detailed policy speech by Gillard on the basis of which Oakes et al reported that she wore glasses and an election date had been announced. You’re just repeating the right-wing propaganda we have been fed for the past five years as if saying it will make it so: you seem to believe that if you tell a big lie for long enough, regardless of the facts, it will become true or, maybe, along with the Inner Party in ‘1984’, you believe that there is no such thing as objective truth: 2+2=5.
While I share your cynicism about the press gallery, the fact that they are mostly sympathetic to Labor far more than they are sympathetic to the coalition should inform you about the fact that they too decided that the last Labor government was far from competent.
Well I looked him up and frankly I don’t see him as an authority on the matter at all
I see that you too are a fan of the late Eric Blair. Well perhaps you should ponder on the point of 1984, namely it was a criticism of the totalitarian Soviet Union and the tyranny of Marxism, not that I’m going to suggest that the Labor party is a hot bed of unreconstructed communists but they are closer to that way of thinking the the coalition by many orders of magnitude.
Hi victoria, Im with you!!!!! Cant wait for this term to finish and hopefully people will see it the way it is …..: ) Thanks for your clarity Trees
Oh fuck off Iain – either answer the issues raised in Victoria’s article or stop the “look over there” amateur trolling. Dickhead.
I addressing the underlying premise of this piece, which I believe to be wrong . Obviously that upsets you, maybe because in your heart of hearts you know taht what I am saying is true.
Cheers comrade 😉
No you are not. Victoria is talking media issues which you have pointedly ignored and gone on with chanting the usual “mess, chaos, waste” mantra – another 3 word bogan slogan – you are doing your pull-rag pin-up boy Andrew Bolt proud. Still, comrade, who am I to argue with someone with such an impressive CV as yours?
I am not particularly upset with the result of the election as experience tells us that all things are cyclical and this will not last forever and it might have the salutary effect of curing Australians of whack-job, policy free, right winged monkey, born to rule bullshit for a generation.
As I see I think that Oakes, like a lot co commentators and media players think that governments exist to give them something to talk or write about. That it is the duty of Government to keep giving them the political sugar that they crave. Its a vestige of the Labor years and I can’t be the only one who thinks that Labor created a rod for their own backs in the way that they insisted on being total media whores and now that they are in opposition and well totally irrelevant we get the likes of Oakes whining about the much more grown up government refusing to play by the old paradigm.
To some extent its all about the ever shorter attention span of the political classes that feeds the angst of Oakes and his cronies at Fairfax, lefty bloggers, and the Twiterarti that are to blame here.It used to be not so long ago that our news cycle was all about what has/was/is happening today. now with in instant message culture. The desire is to have something new every minute or so. Kevin Rudd and to a lesser extent Julia Gillard were both very keen to try to tap into the social media demographic and they tried to use social media as a tool to promote themselves and their government’s activities, they may not have created the short attention span of the media but they certainly entrenched the sugar addiction of polity.
Maybe, just maybe, the fact that parliament will be sitting again soon and that will mean a bit more colour and movement which will silence the interminable whining about the government being “secretive” and or that Tony Abbott is “hiding”. Somehow though I expect we will continue to hear the whining of the Hypoglycaemic leftist media braying for another of the sugar hits that they got so used to from the Labor days.
I’d suggest a good twelve step program if I believed in them or maybe hope that there was a type of political Narcan for this sugar hungry leftist-polity but sadly I think that the addicted are going to be obliged to go cold turkey., It won’t be pretty and the wailing will be loud and long but those of us who are politically grown up should cover our ears and look away from the tantrums because what matters in the public life of the country is not the smoke and mirrors of political spin but good solid administration. That is what we elect governments for; to do the job not just to talk about doing it.
What you going to do when Limited News goes under – on its last legs at the moment – and Uncle Rupert’s progeny are dumber than a sack of hammers. Anyhow, we’re nearly 3 weeks on and your bat-eared hero has buggered up a couple of international relationships, a couple backflip aka lie about education from his attack poodle and Joe Hockey’s debt crisis has gone MIA. Bunch of fucking amateurs. But keep cheering Iain. And take the medication.
The print versions of newspapers may certainly disappear as I have been predicting for some time but that will not mean the end of the company which will continue as an online entity. The same will be the fate for all print newspapers sooner or later. As for Tony Abbott’s performance on the issues you allude to well He will get there in the end and continue to fix the problems that are all of Labor’s making.
A superb appraisal of Oakes and the rest of the his malicious colleagues in the Press Gallery, Victoria. I do not see anything different from these cowardly creatures however because they have not got the courage or the balls to dare go against media masters. They can’t handle the truth and are scared shitless to print the truth. So much for their supposedly high ideals of keeping this lying,rabble of a Government to account. Pathetic the lot of them except for maybe a few like Carlton,Ackland And Gittins. Keep up the great work Victoria.
Well said Victoria. And no need to worry about Iain, his limitations are so obvious he doesn’t deserve a response.
Nothing left to say but …. Victoria, you nailed it! Well done!
I actually had the thought, quite independently of this post, that the current LNP is behaving very much like the Party in ‘1984’ with their claim that opinions are worth as much as science with regard to any matter in which they have an economic/political agenda, e.g., educational research, climate science etc, where informed knowledge is re-labelled as subjective opinion worth no more than any ignoramus’s opinion. What such a claim amounts to is that there is no such thing as objective truth and if you want to believe something you can, regardless of the actual facts of the matter. See Howard’s latest speech about scientifically based conclusions being no more than one kind of religion.
Orwell references National Socialism under Hitler as well as Communism under Stalin; right or left wing ideologies tend to merge at their extremes and we’ve had some great examples of Newspeak in the past few weeks with “illegal” being substituted for “unauthorised” etc. and scientific research funding being slashed: “if a fact interferes with our mates’ opportunities to make money we’ll just pretend the fact doesn’t exist and stop them discovering any more”, like the Pope preventing Galileo ‘s investigating the earth’s revolution around the sun could stop it being the case.
The thing that you have to realise is that when governments send an issue to this committee or that commission what they are really doing is moving the matter to the back-burner and creating the impression that they are doing something about it rather than hiding it in plain view until its forgotten by the media and the chattering classes. The Labor Party in office created lots of these entities and now they are out of office the current government are under no obligation to continue them.
Yep I read Howard’s speech and that was not really his point. Rather he was suggesting that institutions like the IPCC are political, and that the politics of the issue have past their peak. I would however agree with him that many of the advocates for the AGW proposition do behave like religious zealots.
Issues around who we should welcome into this country often turn on semantic points and those who favour open borders are no less culpable of being very selective in their language to further their cause. On that count suggesting that mendicants arriving by sea are “refugees” or “asylum seekers” is clearly intended to convey the impression that they fall into the definition that would invoke the UN refugee convention. So its horses for courses to a large extent but the public in general agree with any descriptor that suggest that most of those whoa arrive by boat are in fact economic migrants.
Not renewing funding for CSIRO temporary positions is hardly “slashing scientific funding” Like all aspects of government spending we need to see some sort of return for the expense, and I think that science spending is no different.
Hall, argue this over on your site, you have posted about it, oh that’s right, no one visits your site except sockpuppets, so you come here trolling.
Great work, Victoria. You wrote everything that has been rolling around in my mind lately. Not just Laurie Oakes but almost the entire MSM have been in some sort of ‘fog’ for the past 3 years. It is almost beyond comprehension that they have been so utterly stupid – like looking through a cardboard tube and only seeing a small part of the picture. Part agenda, part utter stupidity. I have said before, you did not have to be a psychiatrist, or even a poor psychologist, to work out Abbott and his mob and instinctively know what a danger they are… I would love to hear what Paul Keating thinks at the moment. Good work and looking forward to more.
Victoria, thank you so much for this well written article. It really does say it all.
This new mob doesn’t know how to run a well oiled machine. You know, the one that they inherited from the ALP, the one that was the ‘envy of the world’.
The MSM made a mockery of any thought of investigative reporting during the past 3 years or so regarding TA & his mob.
So Laurie Oakes, just how do you expect us to believe that what you are now saying should be listened to. You are still trying to make headlines. You are not credible any more & neither are many of your fellow journalists.!
I just had a thought bubble! Please bear with me, Victoria, because it is not entirely relevant to your article. This myth about the Libs being born to rule and that a Labor government is a temporary and annoying aberration, probably needs to be investigated and exposed at some stage… If people could only drop the labels, Liberal and Labor, six months before an election and listen to what is coming out of politicians mouths, the Libs would never win another election.
Victoria My take on the meeja: http://thelooseplucker.wordpress.com/2013/02/23/what-is-wrong-with-the-msm/ John
Date: Fri, 8 Nov 2013 21:18:41 +0000 To: firstname.lastname@example.org
This is not about the last government, or even the one before that.
That is history.
This is about the government we now have.
Yes, anyone could see what was coming.
I suspect believed it could be so bad, or start falling apiece so quickly.
One needs to keep in mind, where similar ideology over decades, in the USA has led to the
If one believes that is the way to go, be honest, and tell us why you support this government.
Tell us, why this country, with tightly targeted welfare, low taxes and little debt, needs to cut more.
We are not a high taxed or nor do we have unlimited welfare.
What we need to do, is target taxes more, aimed at those who can afford to pay.
There needs to be work done, to plug the tax avoidance loopholes. One can Begin with the GST for starters.
If there needs to be cuts in welfare, and other rebates, they need to being among the ones that the wealthy get.
Labor began this process, but this government has already undone all the good work.. Taking from the bottom, to return to the top.
We have heard this government say on many occasions, that they have to cut lower income welfare, so they can lower the regularizations and imposts put on big business.
Eyers, to give business a free rein, the poor have to go without.
We have Keating on ABC Tuesday night. Good programming, one could say.
When one discontinues a committee that has been running over a long period, on serious matters, as how we deal with the increasing aged, weeks before it is to give it’s report, sounds like waste to me.
All the money spent up to this time, is poor waste. Why not wait a few weeks, when it comes to a natural conclusion and read what they have found out.
I would imagine in departments, such as the CSIRO, which is into research, would have many more on short term contracts than other departments. They would be hiring, according to the research belong done. Would be the most efficient and orderly way to run the department.
If they go, so does the research they are doing., Once again, stopping something, before it has completed it’s research. Gone forever, one would say.
What we are seeing now, is based on pure ideology. These departments and their heads are not even been asked, where they are at.
It is numbers they are interested in. have no interested in the work they are ding, or the unforeseen consequences of closing things down.
One wonders if the cuts to the CSIRO has more to do, with playing down carbon emissions and the damage caused, that bringing back a balanced budget. Not even sure they really care about deficits or not.
[…] An Open Letter to Laurie Oakes (victoriarollison.com) […]
Victoria – I haven’t anything to add. I just want to tell you that this letter expresses so much in my heart. I couldn’t have said it better. Thank you for putting into words many of my own feelings about this incompetent Press Gallery goon.
Oakes deserves every frustrated, furious word of this, and bless you for being so restrained & dignified:-)
I am still depressed and can’t seem to get over what has happened and what is happening to our country under this dictatorship. Seriously, why do the press give Abbott an easy time, what is it about him that they like. I can’t seem to see anything to like. Hardly any journalist looked seriously at any of his policies, which I believe are horrendous to Australia’s future.
I was overseas in March of this year and I can’t tell you how many people I spoke to couldn’t believe we were whinging about Julia Gillard, they all had great words to say about her and how will our country was going. Come in Propaganda Corpse and we have a whole different story, why I ask? I want to know which one of Abbott’s policies will be good for all Australians – not just the wealthy but all Australians. I feel he is slowly getting through all the things that the IPA had on their list. Scary stuff.
Do you think that the public are slowly waking up to this rabble or will they still believe Newscorpse. I am still waiting for a front page showing Tony, Barnaby and that fellow from WA dressed as pigs in a trough, surely they would do that wouldn’t they – they are balanced aren’t they. All I can say is god help our environment and the poor animals being exported and tortured overseas. Shame on us.
My last point is – maybe a group of concerned Australians could take Tony Abbott on about his routing the system – Laura Tingle pointed out on Insiders that she is still waiting to see what the actual electoral business he had in Port Macquarie when he claimed expenses for the bike ride. Also, I believe his expenses are up to nearly $90,000 – that’s a lot more than Peter Slipper – I hope there is karma. Anyway, thanks Victoria you always hid the nail on the head for me and express all that I am feeling. Do you think the mood is changing – I hope so.
Journalists are so used to being spoon-fed on a daily basis that it has come as a god awful shock to have to get off their arses and do some digging. It will force them to start talking to other sources, which is what they should be doing anyway if they are writing unbiased copy. That said, the Abbot government’s lack of engagement with the media and denial of information to the electorate is an appalling abuse of power – the ‘keep them in the dark and feed them bullshit’ strategy. It also illustrates that Abbot essentially is hiding from the Australian people and who wants that in their PM? Grow some balls.
Thank you so much Victoria,love your work.So articulate and to the point.You help ease the dismay this govt. provokes.
[…] An Open Letter to Laurie Oakes (victoriarollison.com) […]
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